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    Fuel Highest Since April

    Pump prices expected to remain high through September, EIA report says.

    WASHINGTON -- The price consumers pay for gasoline reached the highest level since late April, jumping 2 cents over the last week to $1.54 a gallon, a government report revealed yesterday.

    The latest national pump price for regular unleaded gasoline was 14 cents a gallon higher than a year ago, based on a survey of 800 convenience stores and gas stations by the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration (EIA) The current price is above the average $1.50 a gallon for gasoline that EIA forecast for rest of the summer driving season through September.

    High crude oil prices that have been stuck around $30 a barrel have pushed up motor fuel costs. The price of crude accounts for about 40 percent of the cost for a gallon of gasoline.

    The price for cleaner-burning reformulated gasoline, sold in polluted metropolitan areas, increased half a penny in the latest week to $1.58. The U.S. West Coast had the most expensive regular unleaded gasoline, with the average price in the region at $1.67 a gallon, up 0.1 cent, EIA said.

    The Gulf Coast states had the cheapest gasoline with an average price of $1.45 a gallon, up 0.6 cent from the prior week. In urban areas, San Francisco kept its top spot in fuel costs, although the average price was down 1.4 cents to $1.79 a gallon. Houston had the cheapest gasoline in major U.S. cities, with the price up half a penny to $1.41 a gallon, EIA said.

    The report also showed gasoline prices were up 1.1 cents in Los Angeles at $1.67, up 6.5 cents in Chicago at $1.61, up 0.1 cent in Miami at $1.56, up 0.4 cent in Denver at $1.54 and up 0.1 cent in New York City at $1.53.

    Separately, the average price for diesel fuel increased 1.5 cents in the latest week to $1.453 a gallon, the highest level since early May and 15 cents above year-earlier levels. Truckers on the West Coast paid the most for diesel fuel at $1.62 a gallon, up 1.7 cents from the prior week. The lower Atlantic states had the cheapest diesel at $1.40, up 0.6 cents from the previous week.

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